Atheist to Open NY Meeting; Top Court OK'd Prayers

Tuesday, 15 Jul 2014 06:45 AM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink

An atheist is set to deliver the invocation in a western New York community whose town board won a U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding its right to open meetings with a prayer.

Dan Courtney, 52, a mechanical engineer, said he asked the town of Greece right after the 5-4 decision in May for an opportunity to deliver the "non-theist" message.

The court's conservative majority declared the prayers in line with national traditions and said the content is not significant as long as the prayers don't denigrate non-Christians or try to win converts. The town argued persons of any faith were welcome to give the invocation.

Courtney said his request was granted without question and Tuesday's 6 p.m. meeting was the first open slot.

Town supervisor William Reilich said Monday a variety of views have been represented during invocations, citing the instance of a pagan Wiccan for one.

"It's not unusual that we have diversity," he said. "It's whoever comes up from the community."

Courtney, a member of Atheist Community of Rochester, said he is an acquaintance of Linda Stephens, also an atheist, who along with Susan Galloway was a plaintiff in the case challenging the town meeting prayer. They said the Christian prayers made them uncomfortable. Every meeting from 1999 through 2007 had been opened with a Christian-oriented invocation.

A day after the court decision, Stephens and Galloway, who is Jewish, said they would continue to push the board to be more inclusive and hoped to see atheists among those leading the moment of prayer that follows the Pledge of Allegiance.

Courtney said the court's decision was "ill-advised" at a time of divisiveness in the U.S.

"I think it's a foolish decision," he said.

Courtney and Ronald A. Lindsay, president and CEO of the Center for Inquiry, will speak at a news conference after the invocation Tuesday. The center describes is mission as fostering "a secular society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values."

Reilich said there has been no backlash against any speaker and he doesn't expect any on Tuesday.

"The only unusual thing here is that this group notified the press," he said. "They're making more of this than there usually is."

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Retype Email:
Country
Zip Code:
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
You May Also Like

Lawyer: Detroit Case Could Spur Other Cities to File Chapter 9

Wednesday, 30 Jul 2014 20:21 PM

A New York lawyer told Newsmax TV on Wednesday that Detroit, by declaring bankruptcy and reaching a settlement that appe . . .

Rand Paul to Host: MSNBC Should Tell Truth About Me

Wednesday, 30 Jul 2014 20:10 PM

Sen. Rand Paul told an MSNBC host Wednesday he'll be happy to discuss his views on the Civil Rights Act "when your netwo . . .

Scientists: Earth Narrowly Escaped Devastating 2012 Solar Storm

Wednesday, 30 Jul 2014 19:07 PM

A powerful solar storm's near-miss with Earth two years ago could have wreaked massive havoc, but businesses and governm . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved